CUPERTINO, Calif. (
) -- Neither "truly magical" nor "revolutionary," the cluelessly named
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iPad tablet device has dropped like a shiny wedge into the gadget game, dividing tech watchers in to opposing views -- the critical and the adoring.
A day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs spared no superlative in his introduction of the
to the public Wednesday, it seems the cranky camp has answered first with some heated blowback.
While the iPad takes its feature inspiration from Apple's mobility side of the house, its design comes straight off MacBook drafting tables. Those colliding influences blend into a sumptuous e-reader and sleek media player.
But the list of iPad's shortcomings is surprisingly long, especially considering all the years and number of prototypes Jobs and Apple have worked through to get here.
Gizmo junkies were quick to call the iPad a big iPod Touch -- but in a bad way. Apple, in its characteristically control-freakish way, restricts applications that can be installed and files that can be loaded. In other words, "your" stuff has to go through Apple channels.
One video producer noted that in addition to no
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support, the iPad screen's 4:3 aspect ratio, or boxy shape, is a throwback to the days before widescreen high-def formats. And speaking of video, Apple,
once again, held back on the user-facing video camera
. Even $300 netbooks offer Web cams for video calls.
Bigger issues, like the iPad's underpowered iPhone OS software, also loom large in the fevered frustrations of free-speaking fans. Just like the iPhone, the iPad can't run more than one program at a time. No Mac multitasking, the iPad's price tag and power conservation priority trumps your ability to listen to Pandora and read Politico simultaneously.